Hampton Court garden for Cancer Research UK

Innovative young designer Tom Simpson will be working with Cancer Research UK to create a stunning garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, (2nd to 7th July 2019) to shine a light on the progress made by the charity thanks to its researchers and supporters.

Tom (29) has already achieved a lot in his career, winning a Gold medal at his first ever RHS Show at Hampton Court last year and being listed as one of Pro Landscaper’s 30 under 30.

The ‘Pledge Pathway to Progress‘ garden is inspired by supporters working together with researches to beat cancer for future generations by pledging a gift in their will to the charity. The design is a calm, still and quiet space in a woodland setting lending itself to improving mental wellbeing. At the centre of the design Tom has placed a reflection pool, surrounded by muted tones of soft woodland planting to add a relaxed feel. A tulip tree has been chosen to represent the impact of legacy donations for future generations.

Planting is richly scented and vibrant, designed to address the changes patients experience in their senses during chemotherapy as well as helping to improve mood and wellbeing. Dotted among the garden are beautifully carved timber stakes – eight of which are ‘pledge’ stakes containing the name of a supporter and why they have pledged a gift in their will. Ten are ‘progress’ stakes containing a moment in time when significant progress was made by a cancer researcher.

Core colours include purples and pinks, associated with the Cancer Research UK logo, including Salvia ‘Armistad’ and Rosa ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’. Other plants have been chosen specifically for their cancer treatment affinity, such as yew hedging, the clippings of which are used to make the chemotherapy drug docetaxel.

Tom (pictured left) is thrilled to be working with Cancer Research UK’s legacies team and to be designing a garden with such a positive and important message: “The work they do changes lives and I hope that the garden goes some way to encourage more pledges of support so that this important work may continue.

Working on the project has really opened my eyes to the links between plant life and cancer treatment, inspiring me to design the garden with Cancer Research UK’s incredible supporters and researchers at its heart,” he said.

Clare Moore, director of legacies at Cancer Research UK points out that Tom has created an incredible space allowing visitors to quietly reflect on the contribution of the charity’s supporters and researchers who have pledged to beat cancer for future generations: “The carved timber pledge and progress stakes are a perfect way to capture our appreciation of their legacy. At Cancer Research UK over one third of all our funding comes from gifts in wills, which means that people who leave gifts to us fund a third of our life-saving work.  This work is vital in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and has helped save millions of lives,” she says.

The charity is grateful for the several companies who have generously donated their support to the garden including Tom Simpson, Rosebank Landscaping, Ben Barrell Sculpture, Kings Seeds and Majestic Trees.

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Today two in four people survive their cancer for at least 10 years and Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, three in four people will survive their cancer for at least ten years.

We wish Tom and his team every success with the garden and a successful show. For more information visit: Cruk.org/pledgepathway

Picture credits: All images ©Tom Simpson/Cancer Research UK